The First Of It

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The sound of crickets buzzed in Sara's head, the cascade of their percussions drifting on the late summer breeze. The golden light of the setting sun was crowning the long rows of corn ahead of her, and their silken topped ears bowed gently as the warm wind tossed itself through them. Sara closed her eyes, smiling and content, as she listened to the murmuring of the stalks.

The sunlight felt amazing as it lit upon her face, though she would have to be careful not to stay too long exposed to the warm rays, lest her face take on the ruddy pallor of the farmhands. What would Liam say if he were to come home and find her as brown in her complexion as one of the wives of his workers? She, the lady of the house, as tanned as a milkmaid or gardener?

Sara touched her fingers to her soft skin, smiling a little to herself. She knew she was still beautiful, and that her face was not yet showing the wear of age. At twenty-seven, she knew that these days were numbered and that lines would soon come to rest and crease at the corners of her eyes and mouth. Certainly, too much time in the sun would do little to help her cause.

She turned away from the fence, bringing her hand to her eyes, shielding them from the bright, cascading light. Her eye sought out Henry, searching for him amongst the small grove of apple trees that were growing heavy with the fruit they would harvest in the next few weeks. Sara could see Henry at the base of one such tree, rolling a rubber ball back and forth, occasionally sending it further thanks to a sturdy kick. She watched as his clumsy and chubby little body chased after the toy, and her heart warmed at the familial image that they surely painted to any passersby or servants who happened to look upon them. She, the graceful and fashionable wife of one of the richest landowners in the county, and her strong son, his golden curls shining in the retreating afternoon light. His nanny stood close by, ready to intervene should the child's play become too rambunctious.

The sound of beating hooves suddenly hushed the symphonic crickets, and Sara turned to see her husband's bay gelding cantering up the main gate and up the drive.

"Liam!", she called, gasping with pleasure. "Henry, quickly now, darling! Daddy has come home!"

Henry looked up at her voice for a moment before dropping his gaze back to his toy. Sara took off, running daintily in her husband's direction.

As her husband drew closer, Sara laughed aloud, swinging open her arms towards him. His horse shied a little at the sudden movement, but Liam kept him on, barreling down towards the woman who waited for him. Liam thrust his seat down into his saddle, his heels weighing down the stirrups, and he pulled his horse to a stop. The beast chomped at the bit, froth and drool escaping from its mouth, as a groom rushed forward from somewhere to take the horse from his master's outstretched hand. 

Sara threw herself at Liam and felt herself be picked up and twirled in a tight circle. She wrapped her arms around his neck and laughed into his ear, the whiskers of his beard tickling her cheek. 

"Is this any way for the lady of the house to behave?" Liam's booming voice held a note of mischief, amusement. She knew that secretly, Liam loved it when she was wild, or when she was so excited to see him. 

"I missed you!", Sara gasped, mid twirl. She slid her hands down along Liam's strong arms as he gently placed her back on her feet. "What did you bring back for me?!"

"Where is Henry", came Liam's reply. His eyes left hers, and he looked around, his gaze dancing over the lawns, seeking out their son. 

"With Nanny", Sara told him quickly. "Oh Liam, you don't know how lonely I've been these past few weeks. I thought I would go positively mad with only the help and Henry to speak with. It's so dreary now that most of our summer engagements have been fulfilled."

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